Fluffy Vegan Gingerbread Cake

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This is the BEST vegan gingerbread cake you’ll try! It’s incredibly fluffy and tender, uses simple ingredients, and features a homemade gingerbread spice blend and vanilla cream sauce that take it over the top. A must make during the holiday season!
Prep 20 minutes
Cook 50 minutes
Total 1 hour 10 minutes
5 from 43 votes

Where has this Fluffy Vegan Gingerbread Cake been all my life?

Earlier this year, I released my 8-ingredient banana bread that very quickly became one of my most popular recipes. Not surprising because the texture was shockingly fluffy, light and tender. And that’s not something you typically associate with banana bread, especially a vegan banana bread.

I then used that recipe as inspiration for my pumpkin spice breadwhich is the perfect combination of moist and tender.

And now I’m fusing the best of those recipes to bring you this incredibly Fluffy Vegan Gingerbread Cake. The cake is so light, tender, and buttery (without any butter) that it practically melts in your mouth. And it gets finished with a decadent vanilla cream sauce that is absolutely irresistible!

Table of Contents:
1. Why this recipe works
2. Ingredient notes
3. Step-by-step instructions
4. Recipe video
5. Tips for making this recipe
6. Frequently Asked Questions
7. Recipe card with notes

Gingerbread cake with icing and pomegranate seeds on a wood cutting board.

Why this recipe works

Simple to make. Like many loaf cakes/quick breads, this gingerbread cake is easy to make! No expert baking skills or fancy equipment is needed.

Tender and fluffy. Most many vegan cakes, especially loaf cakes can be quite dense and heavy  or dry. But this gingerbread cake is quite literally the opposite. It’s so light, tender, and fluffy that it almost melts in your mouth.

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Warming and cozy. There’s a generous amount of homemade gingerbread spice that will warm you up this season!

Decadent and buttery. You could serve this gingerbread cake naked (i.e., plain) and it would be delicious. But for a truly decadent treat (it’s the holidays, after all), the vanilla cream sauce really takes this baby over the top!

And if you’ve got warming holiday treats on your mind, my rich and creamy Vegan Hot Chocolate is a must-make!

Woman pouring icing onto gingerbread cake on wood cutting board.

Ingredient notes

Aquafaba

The type of vegan egg substitute you use should depend on the type of baked good you’re making and your desired texture. I have a whole blog post on the topic of vegan egg substitutes in baking if you’d like to learn more!

With a cake, I want the texture to be airy and light, so I like to rely on aquafaba. Aquafaba is simply the liquid leftover from cooked or canned chickpeas. When you lightly whip aquafaba, as is done in this recipe, it turns foamy and light. This helps to create a light and fluffy texture and gives a nice lift to cakes.

The first time I made this recipe, I didn’t use aquafaba, and the batter was so much denser, so it really does make a world of a difference!

Molasses + Coffee 

Molasses is an essential ingredient in a gingerbread cake, but I want to offer a few caveats. First, please use regular molasses, not the blackstrap variety. While blackstrap molasses is very healthy (it’s rich in iron, calcium,  magnesium), it is not great for baking.

Molasses is the sticky syrup leftover when sugar has been boiled. The first boil yields a light colored, sweeter molasses. Blackstrap molasses is the result after the third boil, when the sugar is gradually extracted. That’s why blackstrap molasses is very strong in taste, quite bitter, and not very sweet at all.

Blackstrap molasses is better used in savory dishes, such as barbecue sauce or beans. Or, if you want to use it to make a healthy beverage, such as this gingerbread hot chocolate.

The second caveat is that molasses is very thick and goopy, which makes it hard to incorporate into cake batter. It can also make for a cake batter that’s too dense. That’s why I mix the molasses with hot coffee. It thins out the molasses texture while retaining its robust, warm and sweet flavor. But it also brings a nutty, spiced, almost chocolatey flavor from the coffee.

Slice cut from gingerbread cake on a wood cutting board.

Step-by-step instructions

Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl: flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves.

Whisk the dry ingredients until well combined.

Whip the aquafaba with an electric mixer until uniformly foamy.

Mix together the molasses and hot coffee and whisk until well combined.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Add the whipped aquafaba, oat milk, oil, brown sugar, vanilla, and molasses- coffee mixture.

Using low speed, mix the dry and wet ingredients until just combined.

Pour the cake batter into a lined loaf pan.

Bake at 350F for 50-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the top sides of the cake comes out mostly clean with a few moist crumbs.

Cool the cake on a wire rack, then lift the loaf out of the pan to cool completely.

Gingerbread loaf on a cooling rack.

While the cake is cooling, make the Vanilla Cream Sauce. Add the powdered sugar, vegan butter, and coconut cream to a small saucepan. Cook until the butter melts, then bring to a boil and boil, whisking frequently, for 3 minutes.

Off the heat, stir in the salt and vanilla.

Drizzle the cake with the vanilla cream sauce.

Vanilla cream sauce dripping off gingerbread loaf.

Recipe video

Tips for making this recipe

I recommend using unsulphured molasses, not blackstrap molasses (it’s bitter). See the “ingredient notes” section above for more notes.

I recommend using freshly grated nutmeg instead of ground. It makes a noticeable difference in baked goods. It’s sweeter, spicier, and more potent in flavor. Many readers have made one of my pumpkin desserts and have reported that the fresh nutmeg really does make a difference.

Use a digital scale and/or measure your flour properly. I am a strong proponent of using a digital scale for all baking purposes, as it yields the most exact results.

But if you don’t have a digital scale, please do not scoop the flour straight out of the bag or container. This always results in getting too much flour in your measuring cup, and too much flour = dry baked goods.

Typically, when you scoop 1 cup of flour straight out of the bag/jar, you’re actually scooping closer to 1 1/4 cups in gramsIn this recipe, that means, instead of using 2 cups of flour, you’re getting 2 1/2 cups of flour (not an insignificant difference).

Instead, use the spoon and level method. Spoon your flour out of the bag/jar into the measuring cup until almost full, then use a butter knife to level it off.

No overmixing! Once the wet and dry ingredients are just incorporated, stop mixing. The batter doesn’t need to be (and shouldn’t be) smooth. Lumps are okay because loaf cakes are rustic! Overmixing is one of the most common baking mistakes, and it can cause the gluten to overdevelop. This can result in cakes that are dry, tough, dense, or gummy.

I use a standard 9×5-inch loaf pan (23×13 cm), but if your pan is slightly smaller (e.g., 8×4-inch), you might need to add an extra five minutes to the bake time.

Get an oven thermometer and allow adequate time to preheat! Every oven is different, and if yours hasn’t been calibrated, chances are it’s a bit off. Plus, most home ovens don’t reach the stated temperature when the preheat cycle is over.

Use a toothpick for doneness. To test whether a loaf cake is done, insert a toothpick in the top sides of the cake (insert the toothpick at an angle, not straight down). This angled position is a much more reliable indicator of whether a loaf cake is baked through. If there are just a few moist crumbs, the cake is done.

I like to check the cake at 45 minutes and insert a toothpick in. If the toothpick reveals batter that is still a bit gooey, return the pan to the oven for 5-10 more minutes. If you’re worried about the top overbrowning, you can loosely tent the pan with aluminum foil.

Every oven is different, but I’ve found that 50-55 minutes is the sweet spot for me.

Overhead view of gingerbread loaf topped with cream sauce and pomegranate seeds.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to use the aquafaba? 

Yes. The first time I made this recipe, I didn’t use aquafaba, and the batter was so much denser, so it really does make a world of a difference! You’ll have a significantly different cake without the aquafaba. And I can’t vouch for the results.

Do I have to use the hot coffee?

Yes, and no. You do need to thin out the molasses. Otherwise, it’s a bit too thick and gloopy for a light and tender cake texture. But if you don’t have coffee, you can substitute with hot water. You won’t get the same rich flavor from the coffee, but the texture will be the same.
If you don’t consume caffeine or are caffeine sensitive, I recommend using decaf coffee instead of hot water for more flavor.

Can I use gluten-free flour?

If you can tolerate gluten (i.e., you’re not allergic or seriously intolerant), make this recipe recipe as written with all-purpose flour! The texture will be significantly better and your taste buds will thank you.
If you are allergic to gluten and still want to make this, here’s what I’ve heard from readers: (1) use an all-purpose 1:1 gluten-free flour [I like King Arthur’s measure-for-measure flour the best (affiliate link)] or (2) use 50% all-purpose gluten-free flour and 50% almond flour.

Can I substitute the brown sugar with coconut sugar?

I haven’t tried this vegan gingerbread cake with coconut sugar, but coconut sugar is usually a pretty good 1:1 substitute for brown sugar. The cake will be slightly less moist but still good.

Can I make this cake without the icing?

If you’re trying to be healthyish, only make half the amount and drizzle just a small amount on top of the cake. Or you can omit it entirely.

That said, this vanilla cream sauce is really freakin good and makes this a true holiday treat.

How should I store this cake?

You can store leftovers, tightly wrapped, on your counter for 2 days, or in the fridge in an airtight container for 4-5 days.

Woman slicing gingerbread cake with pomegranate seeds on a wood cutting board.

If you give this Fluffy Vegan Gingerbread Cake recipe a try, be sure to tag me on Instagram with your recreations and please comment with your feedback below!

Fluffy Vegan Gingerbread Cake

5 from 43 votes
This is the BEST vegan gingerbread cake you’ll try! It’s incredibly fluffy and tender, uses simple ingredients, and features a homemade gingerbread spice blend and vanilla cream sauce that take it over the top. A must make during the holiday season!
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Baking
Diet Vegan
Serving size: 10

Ingredients

Gingerbread Cake

  • 2 cups (240g) all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled or weighed (see “tips section”)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

Gingerbread Spice

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Heaping 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • Heaping 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 6 tablespoons (90 mL) aquafaba (the liquid from a can of chickpeas)
  • 1/2 cup (120 mL) oat milk (or other unsweetened plant-based milk)
  • 7 tablespoons (105 mL) sunflower oil (or any neutral-flavored oil)
  • 2/3 cup packed (125g) organic brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon (95 mL) unsulphured molasses (not blackstrap molasses)
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) strongly brewed hot coffee

For serving

  • Vanilla Cream Sauce (recipe below)
  • Pomegranate seeds (optional)

Vanilla Cream Sauce

  • 1/2 cup (60g) organic powdered sugar
  • 4 tablespoons (56g) vegan butter
  • 1/2 cup (110g) coconut cream*
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch sea salt

Instructions

Gingerbread Cake Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F/176°C. Arrange a rack in the bottom third or middle of the oven. Line a 9×5-inch (23×13 cm) loaf pan with parchment paper, letting the excess hang over the long sides to form a sling.
  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves. Whisk well to ensure the baking soda is evenly mixed in.
  • Pour the aquafaba into a small bowl. Using a handheld electric mixer or stand mixer, whip the aquafaba on medium speed for 45-60 seconds, or until uniformly foamy.
  • Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Add the whipped aquafaba, oat milk sunflower oil, brown sugar, and vanilla.
  • Wipe out the bowl used for the aquafaba. Pour the molasses and hot coffee into the bowl, and whisk until well combined. Pour into the well with the liquid ingredients.
  • Using your electric mixer on slow speed, combine the dry and wet ingredients just until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Stop mixing as soon as the batter comes together – do not overmix. It’s okay if there are some lumps.
  • Pour the cake batter into the lined loaf pan and smooth the surface with a rubber spatula. Bake in the preheated oven for 50-55 minutes, until the cake is relatively firm and springs back when touched and a toothpick inserted into the top sides of the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs.
  • Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool for 10-15 minutes. Then, using the parchment paper handles, remove the bread from the pan and cool on the rack for at least 20 minutes before slicing. When ready to serve, drizzle the Vanilla Cream Sauce on top and scatter with pomegranate seeds, if using.

Vanilla Cream Sauce Directions

  • Add the powdered sugar, vegan butter and coconut cream to a small or medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the butter has melted.
  • Bring to boil and keep at a boil for 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and salt.
  • Allow to cool for a few minutes before spooning over the cake.

Notes

* Coconut cream is the thick, solid white cream-like substance you’ll find in a can of full-fat coconut milk. You can also buy canned coconut cream.

Calories: 357kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Sodium: 211mg | Potassium: 261mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 27g | Vitamin A: 239IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 58mg | Iron: 2mg

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4.98 from 43 votes (14 ratings without comment)

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68 comments on Fluffy Vegan Gingerbread Cake

  1. Pat F.

    5 stars
    Excellent vegan cake! I made some minor adjustments to the recipe by adding a tbsp of cocoa powder and a few drops of orange flavoring. To make a round decorated cake, I baked it in a 9″ round pan, and topped it with coconut whipped cream also flavored with orange and chocolate orange shavings.
    Thank you so much for this recipe.

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for sharing, Pat! We’re happy you’re a fan of the cake :)

  2. Katie

    5 stars
    So delicious – perfect for Christmas breakfast! The texture is incredible.

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Katie, thank you so much for your kind review!

  3. Ashley D

    5 stars
    This was SO good!! Any tips on converting this to cupcakes/mini loafs?! I’d love to make smaller serving sizes for Christmas Eve!

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      We’re so delighted you loved this cake! We haven’t done this ourselves, but have tried this with similar loaf cakes like pumpkin bread. You can try portioning out the batter into muffin tins (about ¾ full) and preheating the oven to 425F. Bake in the center rack for 5-6 minutes or until they start to rise, then reduce the oven temp to 350F (without opening the oven door). Bake for another 14 to 22 minutes (sorry, we’re not sure on the precise times!).

      1. Ashley

        I very much appreciate you taking time to respond!

        1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

          Of course, Ashley! :)

  4. Sandi

    5 stars
    This recipe is amazing! The spice mix is perfect. I added 1 grated apple and reduced the oil to 2 tbsp. I swapped the flour for 1 c gf flour and 1 c almond flour. I added plumped raisins and topped the cake with diced, candied ginger. This cake will be at the dessert table over the holidays! Thank you!

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for sharing your experience with us, Sandi! We’re so happy you were impressed with the cake and that it will be making it to the holiday dessert table.

  5. Niki

    5 stars
    Thank you so much for the explanation about Molasses. Here in Aotearoa/ New Zealand, Molasses is dark and thick and very bitter and l’ve never understood its popularity in baking. I have bought it and used it but, never liked it. Thanks to your clarification, l realise that what is just known as Molasses here, is probably what you call Blackstrap Molasses and, what we call ‘Golden Syrup’ – a much lighter, sweeter and more runny product (a bit thicker than runny/UNcreamed honey and about the same colour), is probably your Molasses. It finally makes sense and, l hope my comment will be useful because, l see so many comments online asking about Golden Syrup.
    I wanted to ask would this be adaptable for GF flour? l’d like to bake it to take to a friend’s house. Many thanks.

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      We’re glad you found value in the blog post, Niki!

      And as for the GF flour question, the answer can be found in the FAQ section but I’ve pasted it here for your convenience:

      “If you can tolerate gluten (i.e., you’re not allergic or seriously intolerant), make this recipe recipe as written with all-purpose flour! The texture will be significantly better and your taste buds will thank you.

      If you are allergic to gluten and still want to make this, here’s what I’ve heard from readers: (1) use an all-purpose 1:1 gluten-free flour [I like King Arthur’s measure-for-measure flour the best] or (2) use 50% all-purpose gluten-free flour and 50% almond flour.”

  6. Tina

    5 stars
    I’m the only vegan in the family, so I get a lot of unjust pity from my family members for not being able to eat the desserts they make. I decided to break some of that prejudice during the holidays, and this recipe was my go-to. Everybody who tried it was amazed at how fluffy and flavourful this was!

  7. Jackie

    5 stars
    This is the lightest, fluffiest, and softest vegan loaf/cake I’ve ever made! It was incredibly easy to make and baked up perfectly. The gingerbread flavor came through beautifully and was nicely spiced. Everyone at Christmas loved it!

  8. Heidi

    5 stars
    Just made! I added fresh ginger and crystalized ginger. Also forgot to add the brown sugar. Turned out beautifully without the brown sugar. Plan to do again, this time with 1/3 cup brown sugar vs the full 2/3 cup. This is the best vegan quick bread base recipe I have tried.

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Heidi, So glad to hear you loved the gingerbread cake! :)

  9. Avery

    Will this be okay to make a bit ahead of time? I’d like to prepare it on Christmas Eve, to eat on Christmas. Would it hold up just fine?

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Avery- yes! It would be just fine to do that. You can store leftovers, tightly wrapped, on your counter for 2 days, or in the fridge in an airtight container for 4-5 days. Merry Christmas!

  10. Mikey

    5 stars
    Quite possibly the best cake I have ever had. I usually double the spices, but otherwise a perfect recipe.

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Wonderful, thanks for sharing, Mikey!

  11. Christina

    Hi! Could I replace the hot coffee with cold brew concentrate? I don’t have a hot coffee maker, just a cold brew maker.

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi there, concentrate will be much too strong. You can replace the hot coffee with diluted cold brew (given instructions on the bottle). Enjoy!

  12. Jennifer

    I can’t wait to make this recipe! Can I substitute applesauce for the oil?

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Jennifer, we haven’t tried this ourselves but would advise against it, because it would drastically change the desired result of this recipe.

  13. Casey

    5 stars
    This replaced the recipe I had saved with the beautiful
    poached pears! I’d love to try both recipes, where can i find the previous one?

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Casey, what’s your email? We’ll send it over.

  14. Sara Barban

    5 stars
    I made this recipes yesterday using a flax egg because I didn’t have aquafaba. It came out beautifully. Perfectly moist and with a wonderful taste of gingerbread cookies.

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Sara, So glad to hear you loved this recipe!

  15. kerry

    the bread itself tastes delicious, and it is very moist and tender. however, when i cut it into slices, it completely crumbled and fell apart. i followed the recipe and baking time/temperature exactly, then let it cool for at least 20 minutes before slicing as instructed. any idea why this might have happened?

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      From Nisha: “Hi Kerry, was the cake cooked through? Very soft cakes like this are delicate but I’ve never had them fall apart, so I’m not entirely sure. The only things I can think of are execution-related. As in, if you used measuring cups instead of measuring in grams using a digital scale (I always recommend measuring in grams and milliliters because it’s far more accurate than measuring cups—not all measuring cups are the same and everyone measures differently). For instance, too much moisture from mismeasuring liquid ingredients could cause the cake to fall apart. Also, did you test the cake for doneness with a toothpick? If so, did you insert the toothpick at an angle? This is the best way to see if the cake is fully done, as inserting a toothpick straight down vertically doesn’t always give you the best sense of doneness.”

  16. Carol C Walker

    I can’t review this or any of your recipes that use aquafaba. I never buy canned beans. What can I use as a substitute?

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Carol, we haven’t tried making aquafaba ourselves but it sounds like you can save the cooking water from your chickpeas then cook the liquid down on low heat and reduce until it’s slightly thickened.

      You can also use a flax or chia egg instead. Good luck!

  17. SAMMMMMMMMM

    5 stars
    I made this just last night and forced myself today to slice and freeze it because I’ve been inhaling it! I’ve been on the hunt for a delicious gingerbread loaf and this totally hit the spot. I increased the ginger to 2 – 1/2 tsps and it was great. I used dried nutmeg instead of fresh and used half the amount.

    I was nervous because the batter was really thin, especially after the hot coffee/molasses mixture, but 53 minutes in the oven was perfect. So delicious!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Sam, So glad to hear you loved this recipe!

  18. Madhuri

    5 stars
    Just made this recipe for the first time and it was AMAZING 😍. It didnt even need the glaze. My non-vegan family enjoyed it immensely, and all commented on how flavorful it was! We enjoyed it with some vegan ice cream and it was delish ❤. I am not a coffee drinker so I used the hot water sub Nisha recommended and it was still very flavorful.

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Awesome, Madhuri. Thanks for your comment and for taking the time to review!

  19. Anna

    5 stars
    Hello.
    I was wondering if I could substitute another liquid for the hot coffee?
    Anna

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Anna, if you don’t have coffee, you can substitute with hot water. You won’t get the same rich flavor from the coffee, but the texture will be the same.

      If you don’t consume caffeine or are caffeine sensitive, I recommend using decaf coffee instead of hot water for more flavor. Enjoy!

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